|the key to being productive is to decide which task to do and doing it well rather than doing multiple tasks at the same time/ Photo By imtmphoto via 123RF|
Time is a limited resource and one that people never seem to have enough of. Oftentimes, people would bemoan how they wish they had more time to do more of the things that need to get done. Since more unfinished tasks keep piling up, it seems that they cannot avoid getting trapped into the cycle of being busy but never being productive. Busyness takes away a person’s time to think about what is happening in their life and do the activities they enjoy. As Gustavo Razetti, CEO of Liberationist and a speaker of change workshops, puts it, busyness has turned into a “socially acceptable excuse’.
In the article How to Stop Being Busy All the Time, it is stated that the key to being productive is to decide which task to do and doing it well rather than doing multiple tasks at the same time. He suggests that people declutter by not saying yes to everything, because in doing so, they are saying no to what is important to them. They should concentrate on what matters, be more concerned with quality rather than quantity and focus more on the effect of the completed task than the task itself.
Possible Reasons Why People Are So “Busy”
Most individuals would identify themselves as busy people. This busyness that they can come from one or more of the seven hypothetical reasons that sloww.co mentions that prompted it. As listed in the article Busyness 101: Why Are We So Busy in Modern Life? (7 Hypotheses), here are the possible causes:
It is considered a badge of honor and status symbol
Being “busy” is idealized in today’s fast-paced society. When one announces or displays how busy they are, people tend to see it as an indicator that they are valuable and to be held in high regard.
It shows job security
It makes a person appear loyal to their company and productive. The evaluation of work has now become more subjective. Rather than measuring how much work is done objectively, it is gauged by how “much stuff is done in a visible manner,” Cal Newport says.
People have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
From purchasing commodities, spending has changed into purchasing experiences. Society has placed emphasis on having everything and doing everything. As a result, more individuals are cramming more activities into their schedules. This, in turn, also fills their social media feed with posts that make it look like they are living the most exciting life.
It is the result of a digital age
In a culture where everyone is expected to have their mobile devices with them all the time, there is no longer a clear distinction between an individual’s personal life and work. As a result, it forces people to multitask and never cease from working.
It is a time-filler
People now have more options in how they will spend their time, both online and offline. Due to having these many choices, they tend not to leave any free time for a relaxing whitespace.
It is necessary
To be able to pay the bills and provide for the needs of the family, as well as take care of the kids, most parents have multiple jobs.
It is a form of escapism
Getting caught up in so many things can keep one from having to confront the pain or tough life questions they do not want to face.
|busy people want to appear like they have a goal/ Photo By ferli via 123RF|
Busy People vs. Productive People
Conor Neill, a professor of Leadership, highlights in his article 11 Differences Between Busy People and Productive People how to distinguish productive individuals from those who are merely busy.
He explains that busy people want to appear like they have a goal. They also have several priorities. Moreover, they say yes immediately. Busy individuals are more concerned with the action without having a clear plan. They also have the tendency to complain about how little time they have. They are also known to be multi-taskers. In addition, they answer e-mails hurriedly without giving it much thought. Lastly, they only talk about changing but are actually not doing anything to make that change a reality.
In contrast, productive people actually have a mission and are not afraid to show others their uncertainty. They also have fewer priorities. Before saying yes, they consider what is at stake. Productive individuals concentrate on having a clear idea of what they have to do before acting on it. Furthermore, they do not need to tell others that they are busy because the results of their work are proof of how preoccupied they are. When something important comes up, they do their best to free up their time for it. When answering emails, they take a while to respond. Finally, they do not declare the changes they are going to make, they are already taking the steps to make those changes.
How to Classify Priorities
To be able to maximize one’s productivity, one must be able to properly sort out which tasks to prioritize first. Psychology Today has a systematic way of arranging priorities tasks:
Firstly, it is suggested that they enumerate every task that they want to finish and put them on post-it-note or a small piece of paper. Next, they must classify each task with a 1-5 scale. The “Most Critical” rated “5”, while “1” corresponds to the “Most Irrelevant”.
Thirdly, they must remove those that are rated “1-2”, because those are the projects that do not need to be done. Fourthly, projects that are not so critical, or tasks that are rated “3”, can be done by assigning someone to help them do those projects. Fifthly, those that fall under category 4 projects must be broken down into simpler tasks.
Then, the most critical projects or those that belong to category 5 should be the tasks they spend most of their time and effort on. Lastly, they should examine priorities regularly to point out whether it is efficient to make those tasks the top priorities or not. They can alter them and let themselves be more flexible if they find the arrangement does not suit them.
More Ways To Declutter
People must also learn to say no more often. They must remember that the decisions reflect their identity and way of life. They should also not be too hasty in saying yes to commitments or doing favors. The dates of their calendars should not be overloaded. Instead, there should be allowances between dates reserved for some of the things they want to do such as learning something new, researching and others. In between tasks, they must also take breaks. During their break, they can do many things such as prepare for the next tasks, have a coffee or bio break or reflect.
One must remember, the lesser things they choose to do, the more productive they will be.